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Review of Norris Church Mailer’s GO SEE at The King’s Head Theatre

GO SEE PosterThe King’s Head Theatre in Islington is a very well known venue amongst those that like a great night and it has completely excelled itself with its latest production, the world premiere of Norris Church Mailer’s “GO SEE”.

The play takes us back to 1985 where we meet a woman by the name of Marie (Lauren Fox) who is working in a sex booth on 42nd street, a place well known for vice before Disney cleaned it up. Brash, foul-mouthed and full of all the insincerity you would expect of the ladies occupying such places, she gets a new viewer David (Peter Tate) who duly slips his dollar bill into the slot and watches her as she goes through her paces and delivers her well rehearsed lines, uttered in a ‘seductive’ voice to turn the punters on and ensure they keep feeding those notes to her. However, although she does not know it – the glass in her booth does not allow her to see out – her admirer this time is different, as David is not the normal chap with a need to be satisfied, but is in fact an anthropologist writing a book about the sex industry.  The two of them talk and then…….. Well, I’m not going to tell you any more because the next 75 minutes are guaranteed to keep you glued to your seats as these two exceptionally fine actors take us on a literal rollercoaster of emotions and re-affirm why Off West-End theatre is often so amazing.

Norris Church Mailer’s script is truly wonderful and she manipulates the audience with every word she has written as we learn so much about Marie and David. The action moves fast and there are some very witty comedic interchanges and serious discussions between the characters. Lauren and Peter deliver every word with precision, commitment and marvellous movement so that it was impossible not to become really emotionally involved in their tale, from the start to the truly jaw dropping final scene, where every member of the audience was hanging on to every word spoken and, forget a pin dropping, a bomb going off could not have distracted us. If you have read any of my earlier reviews, you know I sometimes get a bit emotional with shows but this one did literally leave me speechless for a while after the curtain came down and we left the theatre.

Director Sondra Lee has obviously worked closely with the playwright along with Lighting Designer Mike Robertson to make the best possible use of the Kings Head’s stage area, turning it from a red-light cubicle, to a rather nice apartment, to a restaurant through the use of some fantastic and subtle lighting transitions. There is some wonderful and really appropriate incidental music covering scene changes and basically this was a show where everything worked in perfect harmony to deliver a fantastic theatrical experience. On until the 29th November, my final comment and recommendation has already been stated by the title of the play “GO SEE”.

5 Star Rating

Review by Terry Eastham

Islington’s King’s Head Theatre stages the world premiere of Norris Church Mailer’s stage play GO SEE, a gripping exploration of personal, cultural and sexual identity in a big city .

David/Paul and Marie/Michelle are strangers in the city. Two lost souls hiding behind masks of self-deception and manufactured identities. Marie/Michelle works behind a screen in a New York clip-joint.  During the course of his work as a cultural anthropologist, David/Paul ends up in front of that screen.  Thus the pair meet, and so begins a difficult journey as they gradually get to know each other –  creating personas, advancing and retreating, concealing and revealing, deceiving and confessing until ultimately a version of the truth is reached and some kind of intimacy born.

Although best know for being the wife of the US literary giant, Norman Mailer, Norris Church Mailer was a respected writer in her own right publishing two novels – Windchill Summer (2000) and Cheap Diamonds (2007) and a memoir about their years together – A Ticket to the Circus (2010). She was raised in Arkansas and moved to New York when she was 26 to start her life with Norman Mailer. She was a model, painter, actress, playwright, mother of two, and stepmother to seven. She developed GO SEE at the Actors Studio, where she was a lifetime member.  Norris Church Mailer died at the age of 61 in 2010

Director Sondra Lee is an award winning actor, dancer, director and teacher who has enjoyed a rich career in each of these fields. This includes her noted collaborations with Jerome Robbins, Federico Fellini, Robert Benton and Gower Champion, Garson Kanin Arthur Penn, Frank Corsaro.  She was heralded on Broadway for her creation of Tiger Lily in the Mary Martin  Peter Pan and she appeared in the Broadway productions of Hello Dolly, Hotel Paradiso (opposite Bert Lahr and Angela Lansbury) and Sunday in New York with Robert Redford. Directing credits include All My Sons, A Couple of White Chicks, Elizabeth and Essex, Watch on the Rhine, Don Juan in Hell and Hillbilly Women.

The cast comprises Peter Tate whose previous work includes leading roles at The National Theatre, The Almeida and The Actors’ Studio NYC and New Yorker Lauren Fox whose theatre credits include Hill Billy Women at The Arc Light Theatre and Heathens at Theatre for A New City and whose film credits include Revolution Summer and We Need To Talk About Kevin.

The Playground Studio & KPS Productions present GO SEE by Norris Church Mailer
Directed by Sondra Lee
Designed by Klara Zieglerova
Lighting Design by Mike Robertson
November 12th to 29th 2014
The King’s Head Theatre

Saturday 15th Noveber 2014


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